Meet The Aussie That Makes That Sweet, Sweet Uber Eats Delivery A Reality
Do you even remember a time before Uber Eats? We'd like to forget there was ever a world without delectable treats being delivered to our door.
The app is now LIVE in 200 cities around the world, but who are the legends behind expanding the business across multiple regions?
One such legend is Oscar Peppitt, the Head of Small and Medium Businesses (SMB) for Uber Eats in Europe, Middle East and Africa. He must travel... like, a lot!
We spoke to the homegrown hero to find out more about his gig, how Uber has changed the game and where to next...
Tell us about your role at Uber Eats.
I run teams that recruit restaurants to Uber Eats, help set them up to earn money, then work with our partners to handle any issues and focus on how to grow their business.
This group of restaurants is hugely diverse and includes everything from family-run restaurants to entrepreneurs trying new concepts and favourite local coffee shops. But what they all have in common is they are great local businesses. Also, because we cover about 20 different countries, cultures and languages, I need to think about how to make something work in a thousand different ways.
What do you think sets Uber/UberEats apart?
For me, it’s always been about customer experience. We launched Uber in Australia in 2012 and it was mind-blowing for drivers and riders. My friends couldn’t believe there was this slick app where they could get a ride in three minutes at the tap of a button - and drivers loved getting more flexible work.
Uber Eats applies many of the same principles to the food delivery experience. I sometimes make meals at partner restaurants, and during peak delivery time when a restaurant gets dozens of deliveries it’s mind-boggling.
Many of my friends who own restaurants remark that the Uber Eats food delivery experience ‘just came out of nowhere’ and grew their business massively. But there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes, both in terms of technology and operations to ensure the Uber Eats app runs as smoothly as it does.
And of course for our hungry customers it is magical to be able to order great food from your favourite restaurant and have it delivered to your door in less than 30 minutes. Especially on a lazy Sunday. I am also a regular customer and am definitely hooked.
What’s the process of continuously developing your product to keep up with the industry?
It all starts with the customer. One of our values is “Customer Obsession” and I take that very seriously. Our teams are regularly ordering via the Uber Eats app, doing deliveries as a courier, and spending time in restaurants watching how partners work.
Having this sensitivity to the end-user experience means we get good market feedback immediately. I once witnessed a restaurant having an issue with the app during a busy shift, and five days later was meeting with the product team in our San Francisco head office to fix it.
Looking back to the beginning, what was the pivot point where the business shifted?
When I started at Uber in 2012 we were only in a handful of cities, and was essentially a high-end hire car service via UberBLACK. The real tipping point was when we introduced ridesharing with uberX. That’s when the growth really took off and we started to have a huge impact on cities.
What I love about now working in the Uber Eats business is there are plenty of really interesting ideas to make great food more easily accessible to people. As a business, we’re less than three years old so are only just getting started.
What do you see is the biggest challenge/hurdle for the business?
Finding the balance between growing fast and growing well. Sometimes it can be hard to keep up the pace of expansion, opening up new cities and markets quickly to meet consumer demand, while still focusing on enabling restaurant partners and delivery partners to fulfill a consistently great customer experience. We know that scale can enable efficiencies and therefore greater earning potential for our partners - but there are always competing priorities when so many people are involved in a marketplace.
What one tip would you give to people who aspire to work for a massive company like Uber?
Confidence beats experience at the beginning of your career. Just go for it and don’t be afraid of applying for the wrong job or failing at it. Ultimately, getting your foot in the door is the biggest hurdle, and then you need to run as fast as you can to keep up. Hard work and persistence pays off. Even if it doesn’t work out, you’ll be better for having gone through the experience.
What does the Uber/UberEats team look like?
It’s pretty small, but growing fast! We now have more than 200 cities live on the Uber Eats app, so we’re hiring like crazy to keep up. Generally leadership is pretty evenly distributed. So we’ve got great leaders running an excellent business in the Australia and New Zealand region, and they’ve got a lot of scope to build a business that’s right for locals.
What do you look for in employees?
I look for people who focus on solutions. You can tell in an interview pretty quickly whether someone is excited to help solve a problem, or whether they want to be perceived as a problem solver. Generally the traits that problem solvers express are empathy (because you need to get inside other people’s heads to solve their problems); humility (because you need to take yourself out of the equation to solve it); and curiosity (because asking “why” is the hallmark of progress).
What do you see as the biggest growth section of your business?
Food! Food is huge, and there are so many problems to solve. Google ‘food deserts’ (not ‘desserts’) to get a sense for what I mean.
Where do you see Uber/UberEats over the next 5-10 years?
We’ve got to be the best for our customers. I think that means solving more problems for them - such as how we can enable more orders for restaurant partners - but it also means we’ve got to continually push the boundaries on how problems get solved. Sometimes this means crazy ideas. Sometimes those crazy ideas will pay off in unexpected ways. I personally can’t wait for burritos to be delivered by a drone.
I want Uber to be the world’s best place to work. I’ve grown up with this company and have a lot of love for it, so I’d like to see us continue to be a place where great people can start and build their careers.
What’s your next step?
I would like to get my team to a place where they’re all humming without me, so I can get some time to think about what’s next!